This is interesting. A guy named Ronald just posted a comment at an earlier blog post here, indicating that Bruce Marchiano, who played Jesus in the Visual Bible’s film versions of Matthew and Acts in the mid-1990s (my reviews), is now planning to reprise the role — in a self-produced version of John!
Click here for the new film’s website, which includes a video greeting, a letter of endorsement from the folks who own the New International Version of the Bible, and a method for making financial contributions to the project. And click here for Ronald’s blog on the making of this film-to-be.
This is a rather intriguing development, since the “Visual Bible” brand has changed hands several times since Marchiano was involved way back when, and one set of owners already produced a widely appreciated film called The Gospel of John (2003; my review), shortly before Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (2004) came out — and many critics thought it was rather good by comparison. That film used the Good News Bible, though.It also had a budget of between $10 million and $15 million, whereas Marchiano is hoping he can raise $25 million — roughly the budget of Mel Gibson’s movie — by encouraging “250,000 believers” to donate $100 each to his project. Could be interesting to see if the film can actually find that many sponsors.
FWIW, I also can’t help noting that, despite Marchiano’s claims to want to do an exact word-for-word adaptation, “entirely unaltered by any human scriptwriter”, the website’s “film synopsis” states:
Decades have passed since Jesus walked the land of first century Israel. The humble home of the aging Apostle John is crowded with “seekers” hungry of heart. As our screen swells with heavenly images of the time before creation “Old John” begins to share Jesus . . .
For the next twenty-one chapters of Spirit-inspired Scripture, leaping back and forth across time from Old John’s evangelical sharing to his younger days at Jesus’ side, , the Gospel unfolds in all of its passion and power, revealing its “Center” in unquestionable magnificence and intimacy: The Person of Jesus, Israel’s long-awaited Messiah, and His promise of salvation!
Sounds to me like a “human scriptwriter” is going a bit beyond the actual text and putting the gospel within some sort of extra-biblical context, there. I wonder what the film will do with that interesting bit at the end of John’s gospel where the author(s) and/or redactor(s) waver between “I” and “we” language.